Ghost Mission

Posted in Audio by - May 07, 2018
Ghost Mission

Released May 2016
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

For ten years, Sergeant Andy Davidson has wondered why Gwen Cooper was selected to join the secretive Torchwood over him, knowing that he has the intelligence, compassion, and determination to make a difference just like his former partner whom he so idolises. On a morning when he believed his greatest concern would be finding the courage to speak to a woman he has fancied from afar, Torchwood Assessor Norton Folgate arrives to put Andy on the spot to prove that he has what it takes to join his organisation. Encountering dissolving chemical spills, roaming monsters, and awakening ancient entities, Andy soon finds that the helping hand he’d like is much farther away than expected in ‘Ghost Mission’ by James Goss.

With Big Finish’s Torchwood series continuing in a non-linear fashion with only the Committee a true linking force as the range brings one Torchwood character and one guest character into focus at a time, it’s inevitable that there will start to be some degree of repetition, especially as supporting characters or the guests continue to become more prominent and experience the hidden and more dangerous side of the world for the first time. That begins to become more apparent in ‘Ghost Mission’ as plot elements from ‘The Victorian Age’ and ‘More Than This’ come to feature once more, but fortunately that familiarity of sorts is made up for by the immense camaraderie that instantly forms between Tom Price and Samuel Barnett. With Barnett’s Folgate an incorporeal projection from the 1950s to ensure his impartiality in assessing and recommending candidates, it truly is Andy who must step out of Gwen’s long shadow and into the spotlight himself, and his very dry and self-effacing humour and outlook on life make for a very unique presence that perfectly epitomises the plight of a man completely out of his depth who must overcome the initial shock of witnessing such horrors and mysteries to put to use his innate intelligence and ability to reason what is actually occurring and how best to act. Tom Price has been an engaging supporting presence throughout Torchwood’s run, but he effortlessly excels with bringing Andy’s very Welsh sensibilities and thought processes to the forefront with magnificent effect as he enters the very dangerous world of bankrupt developers, hauntings, alien artefacts, and cloning technology.

While this is ultimately a humorous tale that makes the most of its fish out of water premise and its unlikely duo that can only verbally interact, there is plenty of genuine emotion stemming from the danger and mystery to prevent ‘Ghost Mission’ from simply being a superficial romp of little consequence, and the smaller moments that discuss Andy’s reasons for not cursing and his experiences talking down drunken people on the streets flesh out the character more than any grandiose actions ever could. Although he is quite understandably disturbed by his first encounters with alien substances and beings, he has no qualms about directly confronting and standing up to the ruling Torchwood Committee that Folgate takes him to following his assessment and subsequent retrieval of an alien artefact. These closing moments are left purposefully vague to permit questioning of Folgate’s true motives and what Torchwood’s ultimate aim is now that the Red Key from ‘Zone 10’ is found, and the connection to the ongoing storyline as Andy gets the very gratifying ending he so deserves after this tumultuous day gives satisfying closure to a story that is probably better in isolation than as the third in four stories to offer a spin on a familiar plot.

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